The Lowe Art Museum

Beaux Arts and the Lowe Art Museum

On February 22, 1950, the University of Miami inaugurated what would later become the Lowe Art Museum in the newly completed Merrick Classroom Building. As the City of Miami’s first professional art exhibition space, the “University of Miami Art Gallery” was founded to serve faculty, students, scholars, researchers, and members of the general public throughout the region. 

In 1951, Miami philanthropists Joe and Emily Lowe underwrote the construction of a stand-alone facility on UM’s campus to absorb the Gallery’s rapidly growing collections: The new “Lowe Art Gallery” was formally dedicated on February 4, 1952. 

Beaux Arts was founded in the spring of 1952 by fifty members under the direction of Ann Atkinson, the assistant Director of the newly built gallery. The first Beaux Arts Festival of Art (formerly “Clothesline Sale”) was held in that spring of 1952 in order to give young artists a chance to meet the buying public. The Festival became an annual fundraiser and is now recognized as one of the leading art shows in Florida with over 250 artists from all over the country, drawing crowds in excess of 150,000.

In 1953, Beaux Arts built the Children’s Pavilion at The Lowe to provide art classes for children. The facility was later enclosed, then renovated and enlarged in 1994. Committee members organize, supervise, and operate year-round art classes, which offer opportunities for children of various ages to study a variety of disciplines under local artists. All proceeds benefit The Lowe. Beaux Arts volunteers and Docents also facilitate Hands On! where students from Title 1 elementary schools are able to come and enjoy the museum and do an art project, free of charge. 

Other successful Beaux Arts programs have included the founding of the Docent Committee, now the Docent Program of the Lowe Art Museum. In 1974, the Museum store was opened under the direction of Beaux Arts and became financially successful in less than one year, with the management of the store now turned over to the Docents of the Lowe Art Museum.

In 2014, Beaux Arts made a donation in the amount of $1.5 million to the University of Miami. This gift allowed for the creation of the endowed position, the Beaux Arts' Director of the Lowe Art Museum. The endowment, which was the result of hard work from members, past and present, lives in perpetuity and will support increased programming, community outreach, facility upgrades and other projects at the Lowe. In 2021, Beaux Arts funding has made admission to the museum free for all.